March 22, 1987 |
|Other names||One Bad Mofo,
The Hammer (formerly)
|Height||5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)|
|Weight||135 lb (61 kg; 9.6 st)|
|Fighting out of||Santa Rosa, California|
|Team||Nor-Cal Fighting Alliance|
|Mixed martial arts record|
|Notable school(s)||Iowa Central Community College|
|Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog|
Joseph Angel Soto (born March 22, 1987 in Porterville, California) is an American professional mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter who competes in the Bantamweight division for the UFC. Soto was signed under the Bellator Fighting Championships promotion where he was the first ever Bellator Featherweight Champion, and the winner of their inaugural featherweight tournament.
At the time Soto was born, the fourth son, his parents were struggling financially, with his father working as a garbage man and his mother as a house cleaner. Soto grew up in a very religious Pentecostal family, attending church with his family weekly. Joe is of Mexican descent and is very proud of his heritage.
Soto got an athletic scholarship to Iowa Central Community College. There Soto wrestled with Jon Jones and fellow Mexican American Cain Velasquez. Soto and Jones were also roommates during their freshmen and sophomore years.
Mixed martial arts
Soto began training mixed martial arts after meeting another fighter who agreed to train him in his garage. Soto began training and took his first fight at a Gladiator Challenge event. Soto won the fight midway in the first round via technical knockout. Soto compiled a 4-0 record before getting signed to Bellator Fighting Championships.
Bellator Fighting Championships
In Soto's semi-final fight, which took place May 8 at Bellator 6, he dominated Wilson Reis from the opening bell with impeccable takedown defense and superior striking. Even being a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and the only EliteXC featherweight champion, Reis could never get the fight to the ground.
Soto advanced to the Bellator featherweight finals and took on Yahir Reyes. Soto won the fight by submission in the second round and became the first Bellator featherweight champion. A few days before the championships, Soto cut his eyelid while wrestling during a warm-up and had to go to the hospital. Knowing stitches were not an option, he and his friends went to a beauty parlor to have the cut covered with make-up. While the doctor was inspecting Soto, his camp made sure to crack jokes and distract the specialist from noticing the cut over his eye.
Soto had his first title defense in the third season, taking on the winner of the second season's featherweight tournament, Joe Warren. Following a dominant first round Soto was knocked unconscious by Warren at 0:33 of the second round. In the fight, Soto suffered a detached retina and was forced to stay away from fighting for nearly a year.
Bellator Fighting Championships promoter, Bjorn Rebney, stated that Soto was eligible to drop down a weight class for Bellator's Season Five Bantamweight Tournament with a win at Tachi Palace Fights 10. Soto lost to Eddie Yagin by first round submission, and was replaced in the tournament. After the loss to Yagin, Soto was released from his Bellator contract.
Tachi Palace Fights
In January 2012 Soto picked up a win over Chris David and was picked up to fight for Tachi Palace Fights. Soto fought his first TPF fight on May 10, 2012 against former WEC fighter, Chad George. Soto won the fight via second round submission.
Ultimate Fighting Championship
Championships and accomplishments
Mixed martial arts
- Bellator Fighting Championships
- National Junior College Athletic Association
- National High School Coaches Association
- NHSCA Senior All-American (2005)
- California Interscholastic Federation
Mixed martial arts record
|Professional record breakdown|
|17 matches||15 wins||2 losses|
|Anthony Birchak||UFC 177||August 30, 2014||Sacramento, California, United States|
|Win||15–2||Terrion Ware||Submission (north-south choke)||Tachi Palace Fights 20||August 7, 2014||3||2:48||Lemoore, California, United States|
|Win||14–2||Jeremiah Labiano||TKO (doctor stoppage)||Tachi Palace Fights 18||February 6, 2014||3||4:16||Lemoore, California, United States||Won vacant TPF Bantamweight Championship.|
|Win||13–2||Cory Vom Baur||Submission (guillotine choke)||TPF 17: Fall Brawl||November 14, 2013||1||4:36||Lemoore, California, United States|
|Win||12–2||Chad George||Submission (guillotine choke)||TPF 13: Unfinished Business||May 10, 2012||2||2:01||Lemoore, California, United States|
|Win||11–2||Chris David||Submission (rear-naked choke)||TWC 13: Impact||January 27, 2012||2||4:28||Porterville, California, United States|
|Win||10–2||Romeo McCovey||N/A||NFF - Norcal Fight Fest||October 15, 2011||N/A||N/A||Blue Lake, California, United States|
|Loss||9–2||Eddie Yagin||Submission (guillotine choke)||Tachi Palace Fights 10||August 5, 2011||1||2:00||Lemoore, California, United States||For vacant TPF Featherweight Championship.|
|Loss||9–1||Joe Warren||KO (knee and punches)||Bellator 27||September 2, 2010||2||0:33||San Antonio, Texas, United States||Lost Bellator Featherweight Championship.|
|Win||9–0||Diego Saraiva||TKO (doctor stoppage)||Bellator 19||May 20, 2010||1||5:00||Grand Prairie, Texas, United States||Non-title bout.|
|Win||8–0||Mike Christensen||Submission (gogoplata)||Tachi Palace Fights 1: Most Wanted||October 8, 2009||1||2:06||Lemoore, California, United States|
|Win||7–0||Yahir Reyes||Submission (rear-naked choke)||Bellator 10||June 5, 2009||2||4:11||Ontario, California, United States||FW Tournament Final; Won Bellator Featherweight Championship.|
|Win||6–0||Wilson Reis||Decision (unanimous)||Bellator 6||May 8, 2009||3||5:00||Robstown, Texas, United States||Bellator Season 1 FW Tournament Semifinal.|
|Win||5–0||Ben Greer||TKO (punches)||Bellator 1||April 3, 2009||1||3:40||Hollywood, Florida, United States||Bellator Season 1 FW Tournament Quarterfinal.|
|Win||4–0||Anthony Luna||Submission (kimura)||Gladiator Challenge 86: Day of the Dead||November 2, 2008||1||0:33||Miami, Florida, United States|
|Win||3–0||Brandon Jinnies||TKO (punches)||PFC 10: Explosive||September 26, 2008||1||0:59||Lemoore, California, United States|
|Win||2–0||Darren Crisp||Submission (kneebar)||Palace FC 9: The Return||July 18, 2008||1||1:08||Lemoore, California, United States|
|Win||1–0||Jared Williams||TKO (punches)||Gladiator Challenge 53: Hell Storm||July 16, 2006||1||3:26||Porterville, California, United States|
- "http://www.fiveknuckles.com/mma-news/FiveKnucklescom-Exclusive-Interview-Bellator-Featherweight-Champion-Joe-Soto.html". FiveKnuckles.com. Retrieved December 1, 2009.
- Thomas Gerbasi (2014-08-12). "Soto-Birchak completes UFC 177 card.". UFC.com. Retrieved 2014-08-12.
|New championship||1st Bellator Featherweight Championship
June 6, 2009 - September 2, 2010